Fans of sports video games can look forward to an exciting pipeline of huge releases in the second half of 2019. The genre is constantly improving as graphics become more realistic, the gameplay grows increasingly smooth and the overall experience becomes more interactive, immersive and intuitive.
Demand for these games is soaring and major developers are releasing new titles on an annual basis to maintain the momentum. Here are the five biggest sports-themed video game releases to look out for during the rest of 2019:
FIFA International Soccer was released on the PC, Sega CD, SNES and Game Boy in 1993, with England captain David Platt serving as the cover star. EA expected to sell 300,000 copies, but it shifted 500,000 units with in just four weeks and became the bestselling game of the year, despite being released in December.
The following year it released FIFA 95 to great fanfare and a new title has come out on an annual basis ever since. FIFA is now the bestselling sports video game series of all time and each new release is a major event.
It has long since shaken off competition from Pro Evolution Soccer and established itself as the dominant title in its field, and the gameplay keeps getting better. FIFA 19 was named Best Sports Game at the Game Critics Awards, Gamescom and the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards and it has kept the commercial juggernaut going.
A thriving competitive gaming scene has sprung up around the FIFA series and the FIFA eWorld Cup has generated a huge amount of interest. It has turned stars like MSdossary7, F2Tekkz and StefanoPinna into household names. People love to wager on FIFA tournaments and you can find all manner of tips and odds on it.
FIFA 20 is the next in the series and it is expected to launch on September 27. Fans can look forward to a number of exciting new developments, including improvements to the AI defending that should help retain a better competitive balance and encourage more manual defending.
Shooting accuracy will be improved and average goalkeepers will no longer have superhuman reflexes in order to make the game more realistic. Timed shots will also be more difficult to pull off, fixing another bugbear of many players. Excitement is mounting and it is sure to reach a fever pitch by September.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will be on the box when Madden 20 hits shelves on August 2. This series is second only to FIFA in the all time popularity stakes and it generates tremendous buzz in the U.S. each year, while it is also gaining traction in the rest of the world. You can expect a number of improvements and new features this time around, as EA Sports continues to tweak the formula.
The new single-player mode is called “Face of the Franchise: QB1”, which allows you to craft your star player – face editing software can make him look like you – pick his college, guide him through a draft and shape his career.
A new scenario engine will create “personalized playable scenarios, events, and dynamic challenges that tell the tale of a unique NFL career”. Pro Bowl will also return to Madden 20, while the ratings spread has changed and new scenarios should improve the experience, including on Coach Mode. There are development traits and updates to contracts, progression, drafts and gameplay effects, so fans of the series are sure to be desperate to get their hands on the new game.
The release date for the next game in Visual Concepts Entertainment’s popular series has just been leaked. The image on B/G Gaming’s Twitter page shows a cut-out featuring the cover star of the Legend Edition, former Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade, with a release date of September 6.
It is yet to be confirmed by the developer, but that would fit in with previous releases and it has whipped fans into a frenzy of excitement. Elite NBA 2K modderRytis Gineika has been hired to work on the game, and he is expected to provide legend renders, and that should help improve the visuals of an already beautiful title.
Fans of the series want to see better freedom of movement, improved sideline animations, reworked interior shooting, less ankle breaking and a better career mode. Some people loathe the micro-transactions within the game, but they are a cash cow and it is hard to see Visual Concepts ditching them. That pay-to-win model could rear its ugly head and put some people off, but this game is still likely to enjoy strong sales and it is also on course to become a major esport.
The 11th instalment in the F1 franchise will feature all 21 circuits, 20 drivers and 10 teams present in the current F1 Championship series, in which Lewis Hamilton is the dominant force once more. Developer Codemasters has been working on the game for two years and called it “the most ambitious release in franchise history”. It will be released later this month on PS4, Xbox One and PC, featuring personalisation of a 2019 regulation car for multiplayer racing, plus several new game features.
Codemasters has just unveiled night lighting upgrades designed to make the game more realistic. “We took the atmospherics system that we introduced in F1 2018 for day time lighting, and further developed this for the night tracks,” said art director Stuart Campbell. Atmospheric haze, dust in the air, volumetric lighting and night-time specular all add to an enhanced effect. It will also feature an intriguing Prost vs Senna mode, and a greater online focus.
Football Manager 2020
The Football Manager series has captured the imaginations of millions of football fans that want to have a crack at leading a team to glory. The thrill of turning your struggling club into a Champions League-winning success story and signing the world’s best players is enough to keep people glued to their PCs for hours upon end.
The series, previously known as Championship Manager, has been destroying relationships for more than two decades due to its addictive gameplay, and it simply gets better and more detailed with each passing year.
It will be released a little way into the 2019/20 season, featuring an improved match engine and better player interactions. There are always a few nice tweaks, but the greatest exhilaration lies in seeing all the teams updated for the new season and the ability to unearth a new generation of wonderkids. It will be intriguing to see how the new game handles VAR and whether real life football agents make an appearance, while changes to tactics and training are likely.